Hines, the international real estate firm, has accelerated its growth into the student accommodation sector in the UK and Ireland with the launch of a new operating platform, which coincides with the acquisition of one asset and two further developments, comprising more than 1,000 bed spaces.
Aparto has been established by Hines as the consumer face for its rapidly expanding portfolio of student accommodation developments. Hines is building a dedicated internal Aparto team to manage the operations of the new sites.
In Ireland, Hines has just completed the acquisition of the Montrose student housing development, adjacent to University College Dublin. The 205-bed scheme has been acquired from Ziggurat for €37.675 million following its redevelopment.
In December 2016 Hines and its investor partners entered the Ireland student housing market with the acquisition of a major portfolio from ThreeSixty Developments. This transaction comprised four prime sites in Dublin which will deliver a combined 1,500 new beds for the city’s growing student population.
The Binary Hub, in the south inner city, which was acquired as part of the ThreeSixty Developments portfolio, was completed in 2016, and along with the new Montrose acquisition, will be the first developments to carry the Aparto branding.
In the UK, Hines has recently acquired two development sites in Lancaster and Exeter. Planning consent has just been secured for a 632-bed development in Lancaster, incorporating a range of shared facilities including a roof level lounge, library, gym and cinema space, with the facilities transforming the scheme as an attractive off-hub campus for students. Construction work is expected to start in the Summer 2017, completing in time for the new academic year in 2019.
The firm has also acquired a site adjacent to the University of Exeter, in the heart of the City’s student quarter. Hines expects to submit a planning application later this year for a new development. Upon receiving planning consent, Hines aim to complete works in time for the new academic year in 2019.
Hines has now expanded its student accommodation portfolio to 12 developments in the UK and Ireland with a combined GDV (Gross Development Value) of over £500 million since entering the market less than a year ago. In April 2016, funds managed by Hines entered into a £150 million funding agreement of six prime development sites from McLaren Property comprising sites in Cambridge, Oxford, Kingston, Aberdeen and two locations in Brighton. There is an operating partnership in place with CRM Student, which will continue during the phased roll-out of this portfolio.
The other development sites across the UK and Ireland will deliver a total of over 3,600 beds (2,000 in the UK and 1,600 in Ireland) and will be delivered between 2017 and 2019, with the Aparto branding eventually rolled out across all sites.
Alex Knapp, Managing Director, Hines UK, said: “The fundamentals of the UK and Irish student housing markets are very strong, with a growing population compelled by the strength and reputation of our Universities. The launch of Aparto represents a major milestone for Hines and shows our commitment to the sector. The operating platform will be driven by our desire to create a strong sense of community within our developments. We are seeking to provide students with a memorable living experience – it should be much more than just a room. We are hoping to continue developing strong connections with the universities whose students we are hosting.”
Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, added: “Hines Europe is very committed to the Student Housing Sector, with firm plans to expand this strategy from UK and Ireland today to other markets across Europe in the future. We are excited about the launch of Aparto, providing additional Hines operational value creation beyond real estate”